(TibetanReview.net, Dec17’21) – With an apparent view to intimidate India in the backdrop of the ongoing tension in the eastern Ladakh border, China has said a joint military brigade of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) recently carried out a “real combat drill” involving anti-nuclear, chemical and biological warfare in occupied Tibet. The exercise, including commandos, armored assault groups and soldiers trained for chemical warfare were drawn from various wings of the army, reported the hindustantimes.com Dec 15, citing an official PLA news portal report Dec 14.
The exercise was reported to have been organized by the Tibet military region under the Western theatre command (WTC), the largest of China’s five commands and which is responsible for the Sino-India disputed border, extending for 3,488 km from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, the report noted.
It was stated to have been a 24-hour long exercise held on a snowy plateau in late November without a mention of where exactly it was held.
The report noted that China’s official military media rarely mention drills that involve Chinese armed forces and non-conventional weapons.
Photos of the exercise included in the report – which was headlined as “A synthetic brigade of the Tibet military region carried out a cross-day and night mobile multi-arm coordinated actual combat drill” – showed one in which soldiers were wearing gas masks, the report said.
Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 2020. A brutal clash on Jun 15 night at Galwan Valley in Pangong lake area led to soldiers being killed on both sides.
The two sides gradually deployed tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry along the border since then, with talks making little or no headway in view of China’s reluctance to vacate its new territorial acquisitions.
China never had a border with India in its entire history until its occupation of Tibet in the 1950’s and the two sides have different perceptions of their line of actual control.